Mayer Hawthorne hasn’t exactly left his Motor City roots behind him. He’s just updated his sound a bit for his new album, Where Does This Door Go.
Neo-soul crooner Mayer Hawthorne is putting the finishing touches on his third full-length LP — Where Does This Door Go due out July 16.
Hawthorne is probably best known for his ripped-out-of-Detroit-in-the-’60s sound heard on tracks like “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out.”
And while Hawthorne’s previous albums have a very distinct Motown sound, the Michigan native tells Rolling Stone that he was feeling constricted by the genre. Therefore, this album is a bit different.
“In the past, I’ve approached the songs with a certain sort of box that I was in where it had to sound a certain way,” he explains. “I was very focused on maintaining my Detroit roots.”
While that Motown sound is still there in his new music, it is being mixed with funk, reggae and even gangster rap.
Hawthorne told the magazine that he recruited Compton-based rapper Kendrick Lamar to join him in the song “Crime.”
“It’s a very smooth song but it has a very underlying sort of N.W.A. vibe to it, as far as the content.”
Pharrell Williams, who has two songs at the top of the charts right now, worked with Hawthorne on the album and is very excited about what he’s heard.
In a short documentary about the album, Williams exclaims, “There’s no other guy like him that has his voice and has that story. Wait until you guys hear it… His f***ing album’s a book. It’s good.”
Williams worked on the album’s tribute to Hawthorne’s father — a just-released track called “Reach Out Richard.”
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Also on the album is the funky “Her Favorite Song,” featuring British singer/songwriter Jessie Ware. You can listen to it below.
Where Does This Door Go is out July 16 and available for preorder now on iTunes.